Friday, 1st January, 2021
Making headway in talks for the first time since farmers opposed to the new agriculture laws showed up at the gates of Delhi more than a month ago, the Centre Wednesday stated that there had been “mutual consensus” on two of the four demands raised by the farmer unions.
The Centre agreed to “decriminalise” stubble burning by excluding farmers from the ambit of the ‘Commission for the Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Ordinance 2020’, and drop those provisions of the draft Electricity Amendment Bill, 2020, which are intended to change the existing mode of subsidy payment to consumers.
There was no headway on the demands to repeal the three newly enacted farm laws and provide legal guarantee on the MSP or minimum support price. These will be discussed when the two sides meet again next week.
A ministerial committee, headed by Narendra Singh Tomar and also comprising Food Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Som Prakash, represented the government side in the talks while the farmer unions sent 41 representatives – this time, the addition was the 41st representative: BKU general secretary Yaduveer Singh Malik.
Readers Times analysis found that during the meeting, government representatives proposed a committee to deliberate on the demands of the farmers regarding the three farm laws. But farmer leaders did not agree to the proposal.
Joginder Singh Ugrahan, BKU (Ugrahan) president, asserted -“When we started the meeting, we were not hopeful, but as the talks proceeded, they agreed to two of our demands. However, our main demands of repeal of farm laws and purchase of crops on MSP are still pending. These will be discussed on January 4. Finally, something positive has come out of these talks.”